Nicole’s “reach for the stars” chart, designed to encourage her family to be ambitious, goes awry when she learns that Gumball has no ambition. Now, she is determined to make him a winner, no matter what the cost.
Nicole Watterson is my favorite character in the show. She’s a loving mother who cares deeply about her children, often going to insane lengths in order to protect them, and yet she’s capable of being so very intense when she needs to be. She has never done anything to put her children in harm’s way, except for in “The Ape” when she drove dangerously in an attempt to get retribution against Miss Simian. Even that, however, was indirect danger. In this episode, Nicole throws away every ounce of love that she has for her family, putting Gumball in situations that would have sent her into an induced rage had another character done that to him in season one. Dropping him off in the middle of the desert with no way to fend for himself, for example, and then dragging him ruthlessly through the dirt as he desperately latched on to the car. I know this is a comedy and it’s all about humor, but I didn’t find any humor in that.
I’ve complained about the show’s lack of continuity in the past, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but I had hoped that season two would have handled the issue better. I don’t think any lessons were learned in this episode that will actually stick around, but hopefully Nicole will be back to her old self by her next appearance. The episode itself was unremarkable. Its plot was scattershot, with scenes changing too quickly with little context. I can’t say that I even found any of the jokes funny, because they were all about Gumball being abused. Did Darwin, his best friend and brother, really need to hit him in the face over and over with a dodge ball? What was the point? At least Anais and Richard were handled properly. Anais may have been acting hardcore, like her mother, but she demonstrated no malice and immediately agreed to get something to eat with Darwin after they got eliminated. If Nicole had likewise been less mean-spirited, perhaps this episode would have been salvageable.